Student Highlight: Laura Curi de Mattos, Baker 2018

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Matthew Farrell

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This week, we have chosen to highlight Laura Curi de Mattos, Baker 2018. Laura talks about her motivations for joining the Baker Program and how she plans to elevate her career after graduation.

 What did you do before the Baker Program?

Prior to the Baker Program, I had almost ten years of experience as Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lote21 Arquitetura, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With a portfolio of over 150 projects, I offered clients a comprehensive suite of services, from architecture to interior and product design.

Why did you choose Baker?

I wanted to advance my career, moving into real estate development. While my passion and experience are still in design, I needed to build the complementary skill set of real estate underwriting, as well as a mastery of all aspects of the development process. The two-year Baker Program curriculum provided an opportunity to concentrate in development while building a real estate finance tool kit.

What makes someone a good fit for the Baker Program?

There will always be an evaluation of a prospect’s professional experience and exam scores.  That said, what really makes someone a good fit for the Baker Program is their ability to appreciate different cultures and values. We are a very diverse team, and for me, that is the best part.

What surprised you about studying at Cornell and the Ithaca community that you did not expect before arriving?

I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, so I expected a culture shock due to the size (30,000 people) of the city. After arriving in Ithaca, I realized that it is a beautiful, active community that has multiple weekly events (Apple Fest, Chili Fest, Cayuga Sound Music Fest) to keep me engaged.

How did the small class size, networking events, curriculum, and relationships enhance your educational experience?

The best part of attending Cornell University was the ability to attend networking events and extracurricular activities such as the Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) and Entrepreneurs in Residence. I am currently the President of Cornell Real Estate Women, and being part of a graduate professional organization not only helps me achieve my goals but gives me the opportunity to help the real estate industry become a more diverse and inclusionary industry.

Why did you choose to do a Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate and not an MBA?

I was confident that after my years of experience in architecture and design that I wanted to become a real estate developer.  For this reason, a Masters in Real Estate instead of an MBA was a logical decision. I have been exposed to all things real estate – design, development, construction, transactions, finance, law, marketing and asset management. This would not be possible as an MBA student with only a real estate minor.

What memory will you carry with you after graduation?

I have developed lifelong friendships with my classmates, professors and alumni. Real estate is all about the network, and the relationships I am creating here at Cornell are extremely valuable in both a personal and professional way.


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